NWPSC April Newsletter

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April 2014


What's Next: Washington Mercury Legislation
Washington's Legislature passed ESHB 2246, which amends Washington's Product Stewardship Law for Mercury Containing Lights, on March 7 and Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on March 28, 2014. The amendment requires the producers to finance the stewardship program through an environmental handling charge added to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in the state.

  • Draft Stewardship Plan due to Ecology on June 1, 2014, public review in June or early July
  • Ecology will review and approve the producer's proposed environmental handling charge
  • Program start expected Jan. 1, 2015

The NWPSC looks forward to working with the stewardship organization(s) selected by lighting manufacturers, WA Ecology, and local governments across Washington to ensure a successful launch of the stewardship program.

Interested parties can subscribe to the Mercury Lights Product Stewardship Listserv for notifications from WA State Department of Ecology on the Mercury Lamps Stewardship Plan review period and other information as the law is implemented.

California Sharps Bill includes Product Stewardship Elements
Assembly Bill 1893, recently introduced to the California legislature, would ensure that consumers that use sharps at home – including diabetics, cancer patients, and hormone therapy patients – have access to a system to dispose of their needles safely and regularly. AB 1893 requires that a container specifically designed for sharps waste be sold with the purchase of sharps in the state of California. It also requires that sharps purchasers receive information about proper, legal disposal of sharps and where to dispose of them. Finally, it allows manufacturers and sellers of sharps to create their own used sharps take-back programs. See CPSC's 2014 Legislation and the Assemblymembers' press release for more.

California Legislation Calls for Statewide Pharmaceuticals Take-back
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson has introduced a bill in the California legislature that would create a statewide program to dispose of leftover prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Senate Bill 1014 would require drug manufacturers to create, finance and manage a statewide system for collecting and safely disposing of unwanted prescription drugs that people have in their homes, similar to a program operated by the pharmaceutical industry in Canada. The bill, modeled after an Alameda County ordinance, passed out of committee 5-1 on March 26 and will be heard in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on April 21. See CPSC's 2014 Legislation and Senator Jackson's news release for more.

California Appoints Mattress Stewardship Advisory Committee
CalRecycle appointed 13 stakeholders to the mattress recycling organization advisory committee (PDF), including Heidi Sanborn of the California Product Stewardship Council, a representative from Californians Against Waste, two solid waste industry representatives, four local government representatives, three representatives from organizations involved in the collecting, processing, and recycling mattresses, and two retail/manufacturing representatives. Under the Used Mattress Recovery and Recycling Act of 2013, the mattress recycling organization "shall consult the advisory committee at least once during the development and implementation of the plan… and annually prior to the submittal of both an annual report… and an annual budget." CalRecycle has a Mattress Management webpage, listserv, and held a recent workshop on draft rulemaking. The stewardship plan is due to CalRecycle by July 1, 2015.


Sustainable Packaging Coalition Conference a Huge Success!
Nearly 250 packaging designers and suppliers gathered in Seattle the week of March 25th to trade ideas and expertise on sustainable packaging design at the Sustainable Packaging Coalition Conference. NWPSC members Sego Jackson, Dick Lilly and Shannon McClelland spoke about the importance of collaboration between the packaging designers and solid waste management professionals to make sure that packaging materials can be properly sorted at the local material recovery facilities for recycling. Sego spoke about how the success of curbside recycling programs hinges on whether it is easy for people to identify what can and can't be recycled. Recycling can be very confusing with so many different packaging materials and shapes. If successful local efforts are to be scaled-up, industry would need to find ways to assist. Dick spoke about how the City of Seattle is driving new packaging designs by requiring restaurants to use compostable take-away food containers. Shannon noted that it will take far more than just more education to increase recovery. The bottom line: collaboration between designers, the packaging industry and the waste management industry is key to increasing recycling rates!

Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) 2014 Annual Conference: May 5 - 8
Annual conference, in Seattle, of the carpet manufacturing and recycling industry that is working to "advance market-based solutions that increase landfill diversion and recycling of post-consumer carpet."

Regional and National Carpet Stewardship Dialogue Meeting: May 14 - 15
Explore, by phone or in-person (Hartford, CT), current regional and national issues affecting carpet recycling (e.g., high costs, changing material streams, lack of end-markets), and how carpet stewardship policy could play a role in resolving those issues.

Product Stewardship in the News

Sacramento Bee Highlights Product Stewardship Programs
A Prescription for Change a recent California Product Stewardship Council insert in the Sacramento Bee, discussed in great detail how improperly disposed medications and needles are affecting community health. The articles reference the work being done in the California legislature to create product stewardship programs to provide safe disposal solutions for these products.

Call2Recycle Turns 20 Years Old
Call2Recycle is celebrating its 20 year anniversary of leading product stewardship program for batteries. To celebrate, the organization is featuring a series of articles that revisit key events in their history.

Oregon E-Cycles Announces Continued Increases in Collection
The Oregon E-cycles Program has entered its fifth year and continues to grow as a successful electronics recycling program. Since 2009, the program has collected 120 million pounds of electronic waste. Collection locations have expanded by 37% with more than 300 collection sites available statewide.

Resources & Reports

Report Identifies Best Practices for Packaging EPR
The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), in association with the Policy Best Practices that Support Harmonization Committee of PAC-NEXT, recently released a report: Summaries of Eleven Global EPR Programs (PDF). The report will serve as a guide to industry and government as they work together to find ways to reduce cost and regulatory complexity in both existing and future EPR programs.

E-Cycle Washington Releases Annual Report
The Washington Materials Management & Financing Authority (WMMFA) has submitted their annual report on the operations of the E-Cycle Washington program for 2013 (PDF). The report includes the total weight of covered electronic products collected and recycled by county, a list of collection services by county, a list of processors and the weight of covered electronic products recycled by each processor, the recycling methods used by each processor, public education and promotional efforts employed by the WMMFA, and more.

Associates Spotlight

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council

What was your introduction to product stewardship?
I was first introduced to the concept of product stewardship listening to Scott Cassel at the National Recycling Coalition annual conference in Charlotte, NC in 2000. I heard what he had to say, and my immediate response was, I have to help. I could see that the product stewardship approach got to the key issues of all the topics I was working on. I was attending the conference as a first assignment in my new role as technical advisor to the Chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board. Linda Moulton-Patterson, the CIWMB Chair asked me to attend the conference and to identify the top three issues we should work on for California. My number one take-away was product stewardship. That led to, within two years, the Board adopting a strategic plan with zero waste as a goal and product stewardship as a key mechanism for getting there.

What intrigues you about product stewardship?
We are finally getting to the source of the resource management problem through product stewardship and EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) approaches. Local governments absorbed the first 50% of the municipal waste burden on their backs as a result of legislated mandates for waste diversion. That simply was not fair. Governments are not the source of the waste. They are the back-end of the system. The question we should be asking is, who is at the font of the pipe? Who is tuning on the spigot? I really don't want to put a band-aid solution on this problem. I want to ask, what is the cause? What products are being made and by whom? The people making most products have no idea of their products' impacts, and they get no economic feedback on those impacts, and receive no signals or drivers to consider changing product design. Product stewardship helps us shift the paradigm of 100% externalizing of costs to the public sector.

What does product stewardship mean to you?
Product Stewardship is a broad, voluntary or mandatory approach to materials management. It can encompass many different approaches, including downsizing of packaging by producers, but it does not require mandated takeback. Product stewardship implies taking care of products and their life-cycle impacts. By comparison, Extended Producer Responsibility is mandated takeback.

What's your personal product stewardship goal?
To get the best policies we can get. My long term goal is to get designers to consider cradle to cradle product implications from the beginning. We need to raise this discussion to such a level -- with enough bills passed -- that designers and producers will never again put a product on the market without thinking about the lifecycle impacts. All stakeholders should be thinking about the product's entire chain of custody; everyone who touches that product has some responsibility.

Anything else you would like to share?
The momentum is in the right direction. 2014 is going to be the year of the big public discussion about product stewardship for all kinds of products. The discussion is starting with pharmaceuticals as seen in the recent National Public Radio story that spotlighted the Alameda County drug takeback legislation. Other products will follow. And the legal rules of the road will start to become more clear as the current court cases are decided. This will then give us clarity on where to go in 2015 and beyond.

Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC)

The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) is a coalition of government agencies in Washington and Oregon working on solid waste, recycling, resource conservation, environmental protection, public health and other issues. Together with non-government agencies, businesses and individuals, we form a network that supports product stewardship and extended producer responsibility (EPR) policies and programs. For more information, contact info@productstewardship.net or visit us at www.ProductStewardship.net.

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